Atlanta is changing the way that it deals with marijuana busts. Mayor Kasim Reed signed an ordinance into law on Tuesday (Oct. 12) that decriminalizes possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
— Kasim Reed (@KasimReed) October 11, 2017
The order was signed just over a week after the Atlanta City Council approved the legislations in a unanimous vote.
Under the old law, a person caught with up to an ounce of weed faced up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. The new law treats the violation like a speeding ticket, with a maximum fine of $75.
While the bill loosens the legal penalties, weed remains illegal in the city. But the new law is still a “victory,” noted Atlanta City Council Member Kwanza Hall who championed the legislation.
“While this is a significant step forward for all of Atlanta, and especially parents who fear their children may be jailed for what used to be an unjust marijuana law, it was also just a common-sense reform. We should all thank the Mayor for his willingness to sign this ordinance into law. But most of all, I want to thank the people who spoke out and told their stories of families destroyed and lives ruined – it was the people who pushed this reform through,” Hall said in a statement according to 11 Alive News.
“Today is a victory for grassroots organizers who fought tirelessly and created the momentum for us to deliver for the people. But while today’s signing is significant, we have more to do to address the many ways that “Broken Windows” policing has unjustly and negatively impacted low-income people and people of color.”